Pacific Outlasts Willamette in Fifth Set

Fincher Pounds Out 25 Kills for Bearcats; Areta Leads Boxers with 24 Kills

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University and Pacific University each put together a big run in the fifth set of their volleyball match at Cone Field House on Friday, Oct. 4.

The Bearcats opened the set with six consecutive points behind the serving of Emily Compton (Sr., S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Boise State Univ.), and eventually held a 10-6 lead. The Boxers, led by the serving of Jamie Steach, rallied for the win by ending the set with a 9-0 run.

Pacific won the match three sets to two, 26-24, 19-25, 25-21, 19-25, 15-10. The Boxers upped their record to 3-9 overall, 2-4 in the Northwest Conference, while Willamette dropped to 5-10 on the season, 1-5 in the NWC.

Sarah Fincher (So., OH, Reno, NV/Bishop Montague HS/Southwest Baptist Univ.) of Willamette led all players with 25 kills, and topped the Bearcats with a .322 hitting percentage and 18 digs. Kirsten Brehmer (Sr., MH/OPP, Evergreen, CO/Evergreen HS) provided WU with 12 kills and 15 digs.

Una Areta recorded 24 kills for Pacific and also contributed 19 digs. Mariah McHolland tacked on 21 kills and a .400 hitting percentage for the Boxers. Libero Becky Sheller amassed a match-high 29 digs.

Compton put Pacific under pressure at the start of the fifth set and the Bearcats were able to register kills for the first three points. Brehmer earned two of the kills. After Pacific committed an attacking error to give WU the fourth point, Brehmer added a kill to increase the lead to 5-0.

Another attacking error by the Boxers put Willamette up 6-0. Pacific claimed the next point with a kill by Emily Farnham.

WU was up 7-4 after a kill by Areta of Pacific several points later. Willamette added the next two points on a combo block by Brehmer and Taylor Lum (Fr., MH/OH, Honolulu, HI/Maryknoll HS) plus an attacking mistake by the Boxers.

After Pacific pulled with 9-6, the Bearcats achieved their 10th point on a kill by Carly Hargrave (Sr., MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS).

Steach recorded a kill for the Boxers during the next rally, cutting WU's lead to 10-7, and then moved to the back row to serve. She provided a string of line-drives that kept WU off balance. After Areta pounded out a kill, Steach served an ace. Two more kills by Areta moved Pacific into an 11-10 lead.

The next serve by Steach fell for an ace and then Kylee Oshiro earned a kill. A combo block by Areta and Hannah Smargiassi provided the next point, as the Boxers took a 14-10 lead. Areta registered her 24th kill of the night to end the set and the match.

At the start of the evening, WU and Pacific played through 12 ties and three lead changes in the first set. Pacific led 9-4 and stayed in front until the Bearcats tied the score at 12-12. Twenty points later, the score was tied 22-22. WU moved in front 23-22 on a kill by Fincher, but the Boxers answered with a kill by McHolland.

Fincher and Areta exchanged successful attacks to advance the score to 24-24. Steach served the next two points, supplying a service ace before Areta scored the final point of the set on a kill.

WU prevailed in the second set. The teams were tied 10-10, but Willamette went on a 4-0 run that included a combined block by Hargrave and Fincher, plus a service ace for Hargrave, a kill for Fincher and a solo block by Lum.

The lead remained with Willamette for the rest of the set. The Bearcats led by just two points at 17-15, but tallied the next four points for a 21-15 advantage. WU won the set, 25-19.

Each team had 10 points partway through the third set. Pacific broke the tie with a kill by McHolland to start an 11-5 run. Pacific led 21-15 on its way to a 25-21 triumph.

Willamette won the fourth set, 25-19. The Bearcats gained control with a 5-0 run that increased a 15-13 margin into a 20-13 lead. The run included two kills by Hargrave and an ace by Lindsey Compton (So., OH/S, Portola, CA/Portola HS/Univ. of Hartford).

The Boxers rallied to within four points at 22-18, but WU won the next point to begin a 3-1 run that ended the set.

For the match, Willamette hit .202 with 57 kills, while Pacific hit .144 with 59 kills. Each team's setter -- Emily Compton for Willamette and Farnham for Pacific -- finished with 48 assists.

WU had six players with double-figure digs:  Fincher with 18 and Brehmer with 15, plus 12 from Riley Fawcett (Fr., LIB/OH, Normandy Park, WA/John F. Kennedy HS), 11 apiece from Lindsey Compton and Emily Compton, and 10 from Lizzy Balding (Sr., LIB/DS, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School).

The Bearcats will travel to Tacoma, Wash., to take on the University of Puget Sound on Friday, Oct. 11. Match time is slated for 7 p.m (PDT).

BOX SCORE

Pacific University 3
Willamette University 2
Pacific won 26-24, 19-25, 25-21, 19-25, 15-10

Post-game Interviews

Sarah Fincher of Willamette led all players with 25 kills. She earned a .322 hitting percentage and achieved 18 digs.

Sarah Fincher of Willamette led all players with 25 kills. She earned a .322 hitting percentage and achieved 18 digs.